BELÁ – Europe should re-evaluate its open-door policy, or face a possibly unlimited influx of refugees. The EU will have to protect its borders more decisively and extend support to countries beyond them, such as Turkey or Jordan. These are just a few of the conclusions brought about by last weekend´s Château Béla discussion forum, organised by the Slovak Atlantic Commission.

This year´s edition of the non-public debate concentrated on the Middle East situation, the refugee crises and the coinciding discussions on the future and security of the European Union. Château Béla is a non-public debate forum which follows the Chatham House Rule. The rule dictates that any information mentioned within the debates can freely be used by its participants, who, however, are not permitted to reveal the identity of the information´s originator.

All participants agreed on the seriousness of the migration crisis and there also was a unanimous rejection of parallels between the current situation and the past waves of migrants fleeing communism in Central Europe; arguing that the latter integrated much easier in their host cultures and economies. Continuation of EU´s open-door approach might incite dictators in the Middle East to evict even more people from their territories.

“Château Béla has welcomed more than forty participants, who were able to create a very lively and fruitful discussion,” commented Slovak Atlantic Commission´s Lucia Martišková, Château Béla´s project manager. Among this year´s most prominent guests was General (ret.) John Allen, former Special Presidential Envoy for Global Coalition to counter ISIS.

Apart from Daesh (aka Islamic State), Europe´s security was also heavily debated. Western allies will have to step up their military presence along the West´s eastern border and enhance their capacities to be able to counter today´s challenges. Apart from the financial and migratory crises, Europe will have to be able to cope with growing propaganda, which reinforces sentiments of anti-liberalism and populism.

The forum participants also mentioned the growing threat of Daesh building its “distant provinces”, which are being created all over the planet and are connected to the organisation´s core. The creation of these foreign cells shall require increased international cooperation of police, armed forces and intelligence.

Read the full summary here.

(photo credit: www.chateau-bela.com)